Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our Lady of Sorrows

Blessed Pope John Paul II, in his (1984) Apostolic Letter, Savifici Doloris, wrote ( No. 25):

It is especially consoling to note—and also accurate in accordance with the Gospel and history—that at the side of Christ, in the first and most exalted place, there is always his Mother through the exemplary testimony that she bears by her whole life to this particular Gospel of suffering. In her, the many and intense sufferings were amassed in such an interconnected way that they were not only a proof of her unshakeable faith but also a contribution to the redemption of all. In reality, from the time of her secret conversation with the angel, she began to see in her mission as a mother her "destiny" to share, in a singular and unrepeatable way, in the very mission of her Son. And she very soon received a confirmation of this in the events that accompanied the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, and in the solemn words of the aged Simeon, when he spoke of a sharp sword that would pierce her heart. Yet a further confirmation was in the anxieties and privations of the hurried flight into Egypt, caused by the cruel decision of Herod.

And again, after the events of her Son's hidden and public life, events which she must have shared with acute sensitivity, it was on Calvary that Mary's suffering, beside the suffering of Jesus, reached an intensity which can hardly be imagined from a human point of view but which was mysterious and supernaturally fruitful for the redemption of the world. Her ascent of Calvary and her standing at the foot of the Cross together with the Beloved Disciple were a special sort of sharing in the redeeming death of her Son. And the words which she heard from his lips were a kind of solemn handing-over of this Gospel of suffering so that it could be proclaimed to the whole community of believers.

As a witness to her Son's Passion by her presence, and as a sharer in it by her compassion, Mary offered a unique contribution to the Gospel of suffering, by embodying in anticipation the expression of Saint Paul which was quoted at the beginning. She truly has a special title to be able to claim that she "completes in her flesh"—as already in her heart—"what is lacking in Christ's afflictions ".

In the light of the unmatchable example of Christ, reflected with singular clarity in the life of his Mother, the Gospel of suffering, through the experience and words of the Apostles, becomes an inexhaustible source for the ever new generations that succeed one another in the history of the Church. The Gospel of suffering signifies not only the presence of suffering in the Gospel, as one of the themes of the Good News, but also the revelation of the salvific power and salvific significance of suffering in Christ's messianic mission and, subsequently, in the mission and vocation of the Church.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

70th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of St Maximilian Kolbe

Br Louis Mary OFMConv and a friar from Africa at the cemetery of Niepokalanow, Poland.
Outside the Basilica, before Holy Mass.
Mass at Niepokalanow, Poland, 15 August 2011, Feast of the Assumption, Cardinal of Warsaw.
Br Louis Mary OFMConv and pilgrims.
Br Louis Mary OFMConv and pilgrims.
Mass celebrated by the Archbishop of Krakow, Archbishop Dziwisz, former secretary to Bl Pope John Paul II.
Mass celebrated by the Archbishop of Krakow, Archbishop Dziwisz, former secretary to Bl Pope John Paul II.
Survivors of Auschwitz and part of the congregation at mass in Auschwitz camp, August, 2011.
Congregation at Mass in Auschwitz camp, August, 2011.
The General with the relic.
Reaching the gate of Auschwitz.
Procession, Poland, 14 August, 2011.
Some of the congregation, 14 August, 2011.
Some of the congregation, 14 August, 2011.
The General leading prayers Poland, 14 August, 2011.

St Maximilian Kolbe...We must place Our Lady in every soul.

(February 11, 1937, Rome.)

"Let us seek to penetrate the plan of God: The Immaculate, united to Her divine Son by ties of blood, is associated with Him in the mystery of salvation, in the struggle against evil, in the triumph of good; the new Adam, the new Eve, together in grace, together in suffering, together in glory, on Calvary as in heaven, always united, today as well as yesterday in the attacks of infidels. Against whom do the forces of evil and error rage? Against Christ, our Lady and the Pope. The atheistic, materialist, masonic press spreads errors against religion and the faith, combats the Church and the Pope, and aims at blotting from the face of the earth the very names of Christ and of our Lady. Every means is used: press, radio, cinema and entertainment to spread disbelief and to ridicule the faithful, organize blasphemous processions to denigrate the Holy Father. Where they can, they make use of authority and violence to level churches, crosses and every symbol of faith.

At Campo di Fiori, here in Rome, they chanted in honor of Giordano Bruno to show disrespect to the Pope, a prisoner in the Vatican, and beneath the Vatican carried banners and flags showing Lucifer vanquishing St. Michael. Are we merely to stand and watch? It is not enough to weep behind drawn blinds. We must pray and sacrifice for the conversion of the erring and of sinners, but if we are consecrated souls, if we are knights of the Immaculate, we must come out into the field and fight, organize all our forces to keep the virtuous faithful and lead the erring back into the way of faith, lead them back to the mercy of God, to the maternal goodness of the Immaculate, enlightening them concerning the eternal destiny awaiting them and for which we have been created, that ineffable peace which the Lord already gives in the present life. Every word of truth draws its efficacy from divine grace.

Precisely in order to combat such impious wickedness, the Pious Union of the Militia of Mary Immaculate, with the approval of ecclesiastical authority and of the Superiors of the Order, was established in 1917. Its nature is to place us in the hands of our Lady to work for the kingdom of God, certain of Mary’s victory over such great evils in the world, over hatred, the horrible carnage and smoldering ruins of the war of 1914-1918.

We, too, must make use of the press and other means of communication – let us be clear, even in the best of circumstances this will always be little, in contrast with what the atheistic and anti-religious world press disposes – and place these in the service of the Immaculate to combat error and impiety, for the glory of God, so that every man might know he has been redeemed by Jesus Christ and called to immortal glory. We cannot take rest as long as there is in the world one soul in danger, who does not yet know the Immaculate. Our human frailty, limited resources or any other worldly difficulty must not restrain us; let us confide in the Immaculate, let us place ourselves truly in Her hands and She will continue to win the battles of God, as at Lepanto, as at Vienna. We must place our Lady in every soul so that from every soul sin be expelled and Jesus introduced. Who finds the Immaculate, finds Jesus.

The Immaculate is the conqueress of the devil, is the Mother of God, always united to God, the full of grace, the masterpiece of grace with every holiness and perfection attainable by a human creature. The Immaculate is She who in Her unbounded and respectful love wills the glory of God, fights the battles of God for overcoming evil, for the triumph of good, crushes the head of hell’s monster and destroys all heresies in the whole world. Let us pray to the Immaculate, let us trust in the Immaculate, the conqueress, faithfully awaiting the day in which a knight of the Immaculate will raise high above the Kremlin in Moscow the white standard of the Immaculate.

I find myself before so many Professors, so many distinguished representatives of theological thought and ecclesiastical learning. When will there arise a Library of the Immaculate to chant and to perpetuate the glories of the Immaculate? How many are willing to undertake this laborious and glorious task? To collect, to organize and to pass on all which speaks of the Immaculate along the course of the centuries: Sacred Scripture, the Supreme Pontiffs, the Holy Fathers, the Doctors of the Church, the Theologians and Saints. To create a doctrinal and historical corpus where all can attain knowledge of the mystery of the Immaculate, can grow in devotion, admiration and love of the Immaculate – not only the clergy and religious, but also the simple faithful throughout the world: what a worthy monument to God who willed to give us the Immaculate; what a lighthouse for non-believers; what a bond of love to unite us evermore to the Immaculate! May all nourish themselves on this truth so as to enter into the thought of God who willed the Incarnation to give us much more than what we had lost in Adam, and who in the Incarnation willed the Immaculate to remind us of the innocent man created by God and of the vision of an innocent world, according to the plan of God.

To God all glory, to God our respectful love and our praise, who willed thus to exalt and glorify the Immaculate. Mother of this dismembered and sinful humanity, our Hope, always."